The Crime Readers' Association

William Shaw

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The New York Times has called William Shaw’s series of detective books set in late sixties London “an elegy for an entire alienated generation.” Featuring DS Cathal Breen and the brash young constable Helen Tozer, they are set against the cultural and political revolution of the times. The Barry Award nominated A Song from Dead Lips was picked by Time Out as one of the crime books of 2013; The Daily Mail hailed A House of Knives as “a distinctive British crime drama, which benefits from a clear moral sense”. A Book of Scars, was picked by The Sunday Times as their Crime Book of the Month, and subsequently as one of the picks of the year. On the release of the fourth in the series, Sympathy for The Devil, the Daily Mail said, ‘Shaw goes from strength to strength, while making it all seem effortless.’

A standalone novel The Birdwatcher, set in Kent and Northern Ireland, longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, was hailed as “a contender for thriller of the year” in The Sun. His books have also been nominated for a Barry Award, and the CWA Historical Dagger.

Salt Lane, also set in Kent, launches a new contemporary series featuring DI Alex Cupidi.

Before becoming a crime writer, William Shaw was an award-winning music journalist and the author of several non-fiction books including Westsiders: Stories of the Boys in the Hood, about a year spent with the young men of South Central Los Angeles, and A Superhero For Hire, a compilation of columns in the Observer Magazine.

Starting out as assistant editor of the post-punk magazine ZigZag, he has been a journalist for The Observer, The New York Times, Wired, Arena and The Face and was Amazon UK Music Journalist of the Year in 2003.


Books by William Shaw

  • A Song From Dead Lips

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  • A House of Knives

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  • A Book of Scars


  • The Birdwatcher


  • Sympathy for the Devil


  • Salt Lane


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